Will Smith’s Philosophy

Jonny Miller
Mar 24, 2013 · 6 min read

A life well lived is - I believe - a combination of achievement and appreciation. But whatever measure of success you apply - it is difficult to argue that Will Smith isn't in the process of living it to the full. There is a brilliant compilation of interviews with Will here - the full transcript is below. Whenever I'm feeling any lack of motivation I watch this. When I'm about to start a new project I watch this. When I'm wondering what to do with my life I watch this. Watch it now and go do something awesome with your day.

“I have a great time with my life and I wanna share it. I love living, I think that's infectious, it's something that you can't fake.

Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, god-like feature that only the special among us will ever taste - you know it's something that truly exists in all of us. It's very simple, this is what I believe and I'm willing to die for it. Period. It's that simple. And that's all I need to know, so from there you do what you need to do. I think what happens is we make this situation more complex than it has to be (because we're looking for complexity).

We didn't grow up with the sense that where we were was where we were gonna be. You know we grew up with the sense that where we were almost didn't matter, because we were becoming something greater.

The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams and who wanna do things. Talent you have naturally, skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft. I've never really viewed myself as particularly talented, where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work-ethic. You know while the other guys sleeping, I'm working, while the other guy's eating, I'm working. I realised very very young that there's no easy way around it, no matter how talented you are your talent is going to fail you if you're not skilled, if you don't study, if you don't work really hard and dedicate yourself to being better every single day you'll never be able to communicate with people with your artistry the way that you want.

The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is - I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me you might be all of those things you got it on me in 9 categories. But if we get on the treadmill together there's two things - you're getting off first, or I'm going to die. It's really that simple. You're not going to out work me, it's such a simple concept - the majority of people who aren't getting to places they want or aren't achieving the things that they want it's strictly based on being outworked and missing crucial opportunities. I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain't gotta get ready.

You don't try to build a wall, you don't set out to build a wall. You don't say I'm gonna build the biggest baddest wall that's ever been built. you say, I'm gonna lay this brick, as perfectly as a brick can be laid, and you do that every single day, and soon you have a wall. It's difficult to take the first step when you look how big the task is. The task is never huge to me, it's always one brick.

If you get your priorities straight it's really simple. You don't have to make a decision about what you're going to do, you've already made that decision ahead of time because passion and emotion in the moment is always going to give you the wrong answer. So if you do the maths ahead of time, its not an issue in the moment.

You know it's an idea that my grandmother always had, that if you're gonna be here, then there's a necessity to make a difference. She always instilled the spiritual responsibility that you have to make every group you come into contact with better.

I want to do good. I want the world to be better because I was here. I want my life, I want my work, my family, I want it to mean something. It's like if you are not making someone else's life better, then you're wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.

I want to represent an idea. I want to represent possibilities. I want to represent magic right - that you're in a universe and 2+2=4. 2+2 only equals 4 only if you accept that 2+2=4. I want to represent the idea that you really can make what you want, one of my favourite books is the alchemist - and I just believe that, I believe that I can create whatever I want to create.

The first step, before anybody else in the world believes it is you have to believe it. There's no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A. I think that there's a certain delusional quality that all successful people have to have. You have to believe that something different than what has happened for the past 50 million years of history, you have to believe that something different can happen.

Confucius said that he who said he can and he who says he can't are both usually right.

Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity. Why would you be realistic? What's the point of being realistic? I'm gonna do it it's done, its already done, as soon as I decide it's done it's already done now we just gotta wait for y'all to see.

It's unrealistic to walk into a room and flick a switch and lights come on, fortunately Edison didn't think so. It's unrealistic to think you're gonna bend a piece of metal and fly people over an ocean in that metal. That's unrealistic. But fortunately the Wright brothers and others didn't believe that. It just seems like such a ridiculous idea to me to embrace the idea that its not gonna happen or that's not real for that to happen. As soon as you say it now you just made that real.

Our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams, our ideas are physical in the universe. That if we dream something, if we picture something and commit ourselves to it then that is a physical thrust towards realisation that we can put into the universe. That the universe is not a thing that's gonna push us around. That world and people and situations are something that are going to push us around. That we are going to bend the universe and command, demand that the universe become what we want it to be.

I studied the patterns of the universe. There's a redemptive power that making a choice has, rather than feeling like you're at effect to all the things that are happening. Make a choice. You just decide what it's gonna be, who you're gonna be, you just decide. And then from that point the universe is going to get out your way. It's water, it wants to move and go around stuff. There's a flow of the universe that I've grown to know just how to go with it.

I've realised that to have the level of success that I wanna have it's difficult to spread it out and do multiple things, it takes such a desperate, obsessive focus, you really gotta focus with all of your fibre and all of your heart and all of your creativity.

I'm motivated by fear. (Fear of what?). Fear of fear. I hate being scared to do something. I think what developed in my early days was the attitude that I started attacking things that I was scared of.

There are so many people who have lived and died before you you will never have a new problem. Somebody wrote the answer down in a book somewhere. Just the idea that everything you need to know someone has written it down.

You can't be scared to die for the truth. The truth is the only thing that's ever going to be constant and you can't fear what might happen to you if you were to tell the truth. Because what happens to you if you don't tell the truth is worse than telling the truth will ever be.

Don't ever let somebody tell you you can't do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves they wanna tell you you can't do it. You want something, go get it, period.”

    Jonny Miller

    Written by

    Tribe Leader @Escthecity, growth @Litographs & cofounder @Maptia. Cold water surfer and ukulele enthusiast in my spare time!